Picture this: you are at an event, like a wedding or corporate party, and you are having a great time, but when you go to have a bite to eat, the food is practically inedible. After the party is over, you are certifiably hangry and scramble to find the nearest drive-thru. We have been there, and can imagine you have been to.
In comes London Harris, who believes that food should always be fresh, vibrant and flavorful, no matter the occasion. In 2005, London started her own catering company, London’s Ultimate Catering, which not only provides delicious food, but a premier, luxury dining experience.
Over the past decade, her business has grown to be one of the leading catering companies in the Spokane area. Not to mention, this business is run by an awesome, exclusively female team!
Meet the team!
What brought you to Spokane?
I graduated from GU in 1995 – worked in Japan for 3 years – moved back home to Alaska for a few years but wanted to move to either Boise, Portland, or Spokane. I knew Spokane well, so I chose Spokane.
What inspired you to start a catering business?
I was a banker by trade and was bored with working for a machine. There is no creativity in banking and my favorite part of any business is the logistics. Events provide that creativity and logistics aspects that I was missing from banking. I am a great untrained cook with a business background that found catering a challenge because it really is a grassroots kind of industry. Putting out a beautiful buffet or plate of food requires commitment to exhausting physical labor, an allegiance with your team to execute the event, and great partnerships with vendors like farmers, rental companies, and event planners.
What sets you apart in the industry?
Three things: quality, creativity and community.
Quality – Events are expensive and we want to be mindful of our client’s money. We strive to provide the best quality items that we can purchase as locally as possible, at a reasonable price. We want our clients to see the value that we bring to the table. So, we customize all our menus to budgets and dietary requests. Our stations are designed with flowers and décor to compliment the over all event design. We keep our standards high by finishing everything on-site by bringing in ovens, grills, or mini kitchens if necessary. This ensures that our food is served at its peak rather than sitting around waiting for service to start.
Creativity – 80% our events entail us going to the client. That can be at a client’s home, office, or in the middle of a wheat field. It takes creativity from the chefs to design a menu we can execute on site, our operations to make sure we get everything to the site, and our service team to make everything seem flawless.
Community – Our team is our community. We have been lucky to create a team that works extremely hard to bring our client’s visions to life. Most of our core team has been with us for 5 plus years, and earn well above the industry standard with benefits, so that they have the flexibility to focus on their own community of family and outside interests. We want our team to be successful in our company, but more importantly, to keep growing and be successful in life.
What is your favorite part about catering a wedding?
My favorite part is bringing the bridal party a plate of food or to the buffet and watching them smile. Planning a wedding is a dance of compromises with budgets, and I love watching the bride and groom see the value in what we executed for them. This can be anything from a beautifully designed Mediterranean buffet, classic perfectly done beef tenderloin, or a fun fry station.
About the Chef, Deb.
Tell us about your culinary background and connection to Spokane?
Deb is a classically french trained Le Cordon Bleu chef taking simple ingredients and showcasing their flavors. She started her career learning from the amazing chef Jim Campbell at the Rainier Club in Seattle. But when her husband had a job opportunity on this side of the cascades, she was excited to move to Spokane and back to farmland. She worked at Luna as the Sous Chef for four years loving that Luna had a garden onsite. With the birth of their first child last August, Deb was looking for a change of pace. London’s Ultimate Catering gives Deb the flexibility to spend more time with her growing family yet lead a team to create beautiful menus and events.
What is your inspiration for recipes?
Most of Deb’s inspiration comes from using local, seasonal ingredients. Growing up on a farm in Tonasket, you ate what was ripe in the moment. She loves to do classic dishes with in seasonal ingredients and execute them perfectly. Right now she is looking forward to spring peas, asparagus, and all the upcoming summer bounty. There is nothing better than a perfectly cooked steak with a spicy mustard sauce, creamed leeks, and grilled asparagus. Understated yet perfect.
Where do you like to eat around Spokane?
Chef – Fleur de Sel, Luna, Italia Trattoria, and Vien Dong
London- Fleur de Sel, Luna, and D’bali.
You’re on death row… what would you choose for your last meal?
Chef – Filipino Garlic Fried Rice
London – Salmon Patties
If you were on a deserted island and could only bring three things, what would you bring?
Chef – Salt, Machete, Lighter
What is your go-to breakfast?
Chef – Filipino Garlic Fried Rice
London- Bacon & Eggs
What’s your favorite 90’s jam?
Chef – Gin & Juice – Snoop Dogg
London – Smells like Team Spirit – Nirvana
What is the last thing you watched on tv?
Chef – Friends
London – CNN the 80’s
From weddings to corporate meetings to baby showers, London and her team can provide a dining experience of a lifetime- one that will leave you happy, full and no where near hangry.